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Debunking Critical Illness Myths

5 July 2022 | 2-mins read


According to a study, it found that working adults are strikingly short of insurance coverage to meet their needs if critical illness (CI) occurs1. The study also found that Singaporeans have policies that only meet 20% or so of their needs if critical illness occurs1.  This protection gap is resulted from some common misconceptions relating to CI. 


3 Common misconceptions about Critical Illness


1.  Equating health insurance coverage with CI coverage

Insurance can be complicated, and there are many types of health insurance plans that cover different aspects. For instance, some may wrongly assume that their MediShield Life, Integrated Shield Plans or private health insurance covers critical illness, as some of the medical expenses for CI treatment may be covered under these plans.

However, what sets a CI plan apart from most other health insurance plans is the type of payout. Instead of a reimbursement for medical expenses, a lump sum will be payable upon diagnosis with a CI covered within the plan/rider or if one is undergoing a covered surgical procedure. Many may neglect the fact that CIs typically require a longer treatment period, and the possibility of not being able to work is higher, thus not taking into account the loss of income when a critical illness strikes.

Because of its lump sum payout, CI plans help to alleviate financial burdens by providing additional financial support during your recovery stage. For example, the payout can be used to cover the loss of income if you are unable to work to provide financial support for your family members when a critical illness strikes. Learn more about the difference between hospitalisation/health plan and critical illness plan here


2. Expectations vs reality: the chances of being diagnosed with a CI

Leading a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularly may reduce your risk of being afflicted with critical illness, but we all know that we are not in full control of our health. According to reports, the average life expectancy is 84.8 years in 2017 and Singaporeans spent 10.6 years in ill health2. Without having proper CI coverage, the financial burden that comes with CI can be crippling.

According to statistics, cancer is the top cause of deaths in Singapore at 28.6% and heart diseases are the second highest at 20.5%3. Given that CI plans are meant to protect against major cancers and cardiovascular diseases, these percentages act as a reminder of the importance of getting adequate CI protection.


3. Low chances of recovery 

If the affliction of CI leads to death soon after diagnosis, we can assume that people would not have to worry about the CI protection gap, since it might be adequately covered by their life insurance after their demise. However, medical advancements are increasing the survival rates4 of those who have been diagnosed with CI such as cancer. According to a study by the Singapore Cancer Society5, 9 in 10 people with certain cancers, like breast, prostate and thyroid cancers, survive for at least five years after their cancer diagnosis. New cancer treatments also mean that more people with advanced cancers may live longer.

More importantly, the same study has shown that about a third of all cancers can be cured if they are detected and treated early. In this case, if you have an early-stage critical illness (ECI) plan, the payout from such a plan can help to alleviate the financial cost of seeking treatment early. Find out more about ECI here



What should you do?

Without adequate CI coverage, the financial stress could affect one adversely during recovery, and add on unnecessary stress for your loved ones. Having sufficient CI coverage gives you a peace of mind when you need it the most. 

Protection against the financial burden of critical illness.

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    Important Notes

    The products are underwritten by Manulife (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Reg. No. 19802116D). This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Buying health insurance products that are unsuitable for you may affect your ability to finance your future healthcare needs. This material is for your information only and does not consider your specific investment objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not a contract of insurance and is not intended as an offer or recommendation to purchase the plan. You can find the full terms and conditions, details, and exclusions for the mentioned insurance product(s) in the policy contract. If there are any differences between the English and Chinese versions of this material, the English version will apply. This policy is protected under the Policy Owners’ Protection Scheme which is administered by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC). Coverage for your policy is automatic and no further action is required from you. For more information on the types of benefits that are covered under the scheme as well as the limits of coverage, where applicable, please contact us or visit the LIA or SDIC websites ( or


    We recommend that you seek advice from a Manulife Financial Consultant or our Appointed Distributors before making a commitment to purchase a policy.


    Information is correct as at 5 July 2022.

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